Cashmere – often eulogized as ‘soft gold’or ‘the golden fleece’ has been long revered through the centuries as one of the most luxurious materials of the textile industry on account of its softness and rarity. Not only is cashmere hailed as the softest natural fiber on the planet, but due to the nature of the raw material and the manufacturing process it is also one of the warmest.
What is Cashmere made of and where does it come from?
The soft fibers of cashmere are extracted from the undercoat of Cashmere goats found in parts of China, Northern India, Mongolia and Pakistan. These special breeds of goats live at altitudes of 14000 feet above sea level where temperatures drop to as low as -40 degree Fahrenheit. These extremely cold conditions fuel the growth of this material in order to protect and insulate the goat from the cold. Each fiber is one-fifth the diameter of a human hair, making it unrivalled in softness and comfort.
The goats naturally shed their coats when the temperature rises in summer. After combing this luxurious material cashmere producers send it for spinning, dying and other processes. Since combing is the primary means of retrieving the hair, no goats are harmed in the process. One cashmere goat can only provide 200 g of cashmere. Therefore to produce a single cashmere scarf, the hair from at least three goats will be required.
The time honoured tradition of weaving pashmina wool into scarves is said to date back to the 13thcentury. Emperors from India and Iran were often seen wearing cashmere shawls in political proceedings and religious ceremonies. Throughout the ages, cashmere wool has been hailed as the diamond fabric, and the fiber of kings. Legend has it that pashmina became the ultimate French fashion piece when Napoleon gifted his wife Josephine with a beautiful and much-envied cashmere scarf.
Four reasons to wear Cashmere:
- Feels heavenly
It is incredibly soft and lightweight. Chuck the leather jackets, mink coats and sweatshirts on one side and a cashmere sweater on the other and you will see that who is the undisputed contender when it comes to comfort, class and style.
Cashmere is hypoallergenic because it doesn’t contain any lanolin that might cause allergic reactions to people with sensitive skin so you won’t feel any discomfort when wearing it. In fact, it will be nothing but a divine experience slipping into a warm and cozy cashmere sweater.
- Wear it all year round
Cashmere is a closet investment one must have. You can wear it all year round especially if you live in a country where the climate is generally cool. It adjusts according to the weather conditions by absorbing and releasing water vapours by the humidity in the air. It also keeps you 4 times warmer than regular wool. The fabric is also breathable so can also be worn in warmer climates.
- High quality
The heirloom quality of cashmere is incomparable with others because it improves with age. It gets softer over the years as long as you take good care of it. It is so good that you can even pass it down to your children and it won’t lose its touch.
- Never out of fashion
If there is one thing that can be safely said about cashmere it is that it will never go out of style. Cashmere truly is a fabric that can stand the test of time and different fashion trends, forever seducing consumers with its perennial allure.